LAURA MILLS: Fire up the grill for healthy eating

By Laura Mills

It’s summer, and that can only mean one thing – time to fire up the grill!
Nothing tastes more delicious than fresh grilled vegetables from the garden or your favorite protein option. Summertime can mean great time with family and friends and a time to enjoy healthy, delicious foods.
Grilling food can be a healthy option with just a little effort, and you won’t have to sacrifice any of the flavor. Here are some tips to help:
· Choose leaner meats to grill such as chicken. Remove skin before marinating or cooking and choose leaner cuts of meat. Look for the words “loin,” “lean” or “round” on the label. Fish is a very good and healthy option that is high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Limit high fat meats such as steaks, ribs and sausages.
• Grill your vegetables. Just brush with olive oil, balsamic vinegar or any type of marinade and sprinkle with your favorite seasoning. Place them right on the rack, place on a skewer or wrap in foil.
· Trim the fat off meat before grilling.
· Grill some fruit for dessert. You can grill just about any fruit. but pineapple, mangoes and peaches work really well and compliment a meal. Fruit can be sliced into big wedges or cubed and placed on a skewer.
Grilling can be enjoyable and a time to sit back and relax as the food cooks; however, be careful about food safety. Keep utensils and marinades that been used on raw meat separated from those used for other foods and use a meat thermometer to ensure meats are thoroughly cooked.

Shrimp Kabobs with Asian Marinated Peaches
From Bariatric Bites cookbook
Serves 2

Kabob:
12 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 peaches, quartered and pitted
2 green peppers, quartered
2 onions, quartered

On a skewer, place the following: 1 quartered peach, 1 onion quartered, 1 piece of green or red pepper and shrimp. Repeat. Repeat on each skewer.

Marinade:
1/2 cup chopped fresh peaches
2 T. sugar substitute
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 green chilies, finely chopped
1 cup scallion, sliced

In a blender, puree the first four ingredients for the marinade. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and add the remaining ingredients, mixing well. Place the skewers in the dish, making sure they are very well coated with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Cook on grill using medium heat for 5 minutes, turning until evenly browned.

190 calories, 14 grams protein, 2 grams fat, 30 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber

Grilled Salmon with Smoky Tomato Salsa
(Adapted from Cooking Light magazine, September 2009)

Serves: 8 (serving size 1/2 fillet and 1/4 cup salsa)

4 (6 oz.) skinless salmon fillets
4 large plum tomatoes, halved and seeds removed
1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 jalapeno pepper, halved
1 lime, divided
salt
pepper

Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Sprinkle fillets with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Place on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill for 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Place tomatoes, onion and jalapeno on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill tomatoes, cut side down, 6 minutes. Turn; grill for 1 minute. Grill onion and jalapeno for 6 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from grill, and cool slightly. Coarsely chop tomatoes and onion; finely chop jalapeno. Combine tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and juice from half of a lime. Serve salsa over fish. Garnish with lime wedges.

165 calories, 17 grams protein, 8 grams fat, 3 grams carbohydrate

Laura Mills is a clinical dietitian with North Mississippi Medical Center’s Bariatric Center.